extreme conditions. In our region, we
buy our boots a half to a full-size larger
to accommodate thicker socks and to
allow some air space so warm air can
circulate and our feet can breathe and
push out some moisture.
The vast majority of my buddies run
flat pedals, and because of that, their
choice of footwear is much broader.
Most of the guys wear insulated hunting boots with a low cuff; however, I
am seeing Mukluks and Sorel Boots
(snow packs) cut and manipulated for
riding. We are seeing more and more
companies trying to market insulated
cycling boots as well.
I love to backcountry tour on my fat
bike. I mainly ride on frozen rivers and
lakes and on remote trails in unpredictable terrain. Pedaling platform pedals
makes much more sense than riding
clipped in. You will have to push a lot,
haul the bike over obstacles and sometimes hop rock to rock in icy streams.
R E WINTER BIKE
Good, solid, warm, lugged boots work
best for this. Racers want speed and
power, and clipless pedals will give
them that, but they are going to have
fewer shoe options for cold weather.
BASIC RIDING TIPS
Remember that no matter what you
think, you are human. The biggest
misconception about a fat bike is that it
can go anywhere and through anything.
I laughed heartily last winter when
we finally received our first really big
dump of powder. Facebook lit up with
all these fat-bike newbie posts about
how stoked they were to go out and
ride in the “phat” 8–10 inches of new
The dirty little secret about fat biking
is that once you go over 4 or 5 inches
of unconsolidated snow, you
are working so hard that extended
forward movement requires a superhuman effort.
Even with a buddy to break trail,
8–10 inches of snow is nearly impossible to push through for any length of
time. Better to go skiing, get a group
of friends to help pack in the trail
with snowshoes, or wait for the snow
machines or groomers to get out and do
Right now there are a couple of different trail-riding experiences in my
region. First, there is sharing trails
with snowmobiles and skiers. Make
sure you have permission or know
the access rules for these trails. Some
Nordic ski areas are working with
fat bikers to have certain access days.
Unfortunately, most Nordic ski areas
do not welcome fat bikes, so before you
go poaching ski trails, understand the
negativity that could result.
Snowmobile trails are similar. Hard-working club members who raise the
funds and manage the relationships for
trail access maintain most snowmobile
Warm hands: Many riders can get away
with a cycling mitt especially if backed up
with disposable hand warmers.